Race: Bridle Trails 5 miler. http://www.seattlerunningclub.org/Events/Bridle/bridle.html

Runner: Matt U

Date: 1/9/2016

Location: Bridle Trails State Park, Kirkland WA

Distance raced and other options: 5M, 10M, 50k, 50k relays

3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

1. Great Seattle trail running community race. Lots of locals out for this one which gives it a great sense of community.

2. It’s inexpensive and easy to get into. $15 for the 5 mile.

3. The course is fast and runnable, and the competitiveness is good for being a small local race.

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you?

All positives. Really enjoyed the day. Maybe a downside would be needing to buy a Discover Pass if you didn’t have one already. We had one so it wasn’t an issue.

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

It starts at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon in January. The 5 milers and some of the 10 milers finished before dark, but many ran well into the night. Given that the race could start earlier, it’s unique that they set it up to go into the night on purpose. Cool concept, something to definitely be prepared for.

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

I raced from start to finish with Keith Laverty, with Greg Crowther on our tail for the majority of the race. Keith led most of it but I was able to push it in for the win, my first in a long time. It was awesome being in a competitive race and I was focused and into the race the entire time. I thought he might break me a couple times but I continued to hang around. I had run the last mile as my warm up so I knew the course well. I pushed it up the final hill and then held on for the win. We were both smiling big at the end because of the fun that comes with a good race.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

Scout out the last mile for your warm up. Knowing the final steep little hill was coming, and that it wasn’t too long was helpful. It was also good knowing that there was some winding, narrow trail within the final half mile, and that once the trail opened up, it was a bombing downhill into the finish. This

played into my hand well knowing that I wanted to be in the lead after the top of the hill and that once we were on the downhill, it was all out to the finish.

Also, watch out for horses! Keith and I were slowed big time and it felt like we were both lucky not to get kicked by a skittish horse that we ran around in the middle of the race. I guess it’s called Bridle Trails State Park for a reason.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

The course is all in the woods with big trees and well groomed trails. I think it’s pretty, but I wasn’t looking too much!

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

It’s tougher than a road race but by trail racing standards, it’s a pretty easy course with minimal climbing. I could see the ups getting more challenging over the 50k distance, but for the 5 miler, they went by so quickly that I hardly noticed them.

Organization – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

Has the small town feel while still being well organized. The start of the race felt low key and like a race I would do as a young kid, with a line in the sand and a buddy saying “Ready, set, go!”. Good vibes for sure.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

It’s not huge, but there are enough fast locals that come out to make it interesting and competitive. This is one of the reasons I chose this race because I wanted to be pushed over a shorter distance. The race didn’t disappoint.

Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.

Super easy. Signup was through ultrasignup.com. It was inexpensive and simple. Much appreciated after dealing with lotteries, points, and lots of hoops for other races I’ve been trying to get on my schedule. The race did ultimately sell out, but not until the last minute, so that is something to be aware of.

Aid Stations

There is one aid station at the end of each 5 mile loop.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

5 stars. It was what I was looking for and I was very pleased with the experience. I recommend it.